Matt Lewis is the editor of the new book, “The Quotable Rogue: The Ideals of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words,” released Tuesday.
Lewis is also, of course, a senior contributor to The Daily Caller. He recently agreed to answer 10 questions about his recent book.
1. Why did you decide to write the book?
I was attracted to this project for two reasons: 1) Sarah Palin is arguably the most significant woman of the first decade of the 21st century, and 2) As some of her supporters have pointed out to me, she is the most “known, unknown” figure in American politics. A lot of people, for example, still believe that she said, “I can see Russia from my house.” She never said that. That was actually comedian Tina Fey. But people still think Palin said that. When you actually read Palin’s real quotes in context, they are quite compelling.
2. Is there any quote in particular that you think sums of the essence of Sarah Palin?
A lot of the bloggers who have reviewed the book seem fond of her dad’s advice: “Don’t retreat, reload.” But I think to understand Sarah Palin, it helps to understand that her tenacity was foreshadowed in high school. In that regard, a very telling quote is: “Everything I needed to know, I learned on the basketball court.”
3. Are there any quotes that would make the Palin-haters revisit their visceral hatred and reconsider the merits of Alaska’s barracuda?
“Palin Derangement Syndrome” is a serious ailment, and there’s nothing my little red book can do to cure the most severe cases of PDS. But I do think that there are folks out there who fell in love with Sarah Palin in 2008, but then — largely due to the mainstream media’s portrayals of her — became disenchanted along the way. These folks will benefit from an unfiltered look at Palin’s words — and that’s exactly what “The Quotable Rogue” aims to do.
4. What makes Palin so fascinating – both to those who passionately love her and those who so ferociously detest her?
I think one has to understand the spirit of Alaska to understand Palin. It is a vast and untamed land, and this serves to foster a culture of rugged individualism that is at odds with the politically-correct values that permeate places like Washington, D.C. and New York City. This cultural disconnect has much to do with why Palin is viewed as a common-sense breath of fresh air by some Americans — and as an evil bumpkin by others. I also think gender also has something to do with the level of hatred. Clearly, the left viewed Palin as an existential threat, and pulled out all the stops to try to stop her from smashing that glass ceiling. They accused her of wanting to ban books, they hacked her personal emails and posted them on the internet, they said Trig wasn’t her son…This is pretty low and despicable stuff.
5. What are your favorite quotes in the book?
I love all the quotes in this book! But how about a quote I wish I had included? In “Going Rogue,” she writes: “There were times [during one of her early campaigns] when I thought, ‘You know what I could really use? A Wife.'”
6. You wrote about Palin, suggesting John McCain tap her for vice president, before anyone knew who she was. In retrospect, do you think that was a good decision?
Few people realize Governor Palin had an 88 percent approval rating in Alaska when McCain selected her as his running mate. Upon her selection, McCain went up in the polls, and as late as September 24 — the day McCain suspended his campaign to deal with the economic meltdown — the McCain/Palin ticket was four points up in the polls. The choice of Palin was a stroke of genius, but the McCain team made major mistakes in their handling of her. It really was a travesty.
7. Do you want Palin to run for president – for a reason other than it would be good for book sales? Do you think she will? Could she win?
It would be GREAT for book sales — which is why I hope she announces on July 4! Seriously, I’m of the opinion that the more the merrier. Yes, she could win.
8. If Palin doesn’t run, do you think she can maintain her relevance? If so, how?
There is an argument to be made that Palin could be more significant if she focused on becoming the conservative “Oprah” than if she ran for political office. There are a lot of things an average citizen can do to make a difference. And Palin is much more than an average citizen — she’s a political celebrity.
9. Forty years from now, what do you think Sarah Palin’s place in history will be?
Obviously, she was the first female GOP vice presidential nominee. She could be the first female president. Maybe she will be the mother of the Tea Party movement? Or maybe she will simply be seen as the person who paved the way for the first female president? They say even the greatest figures only get a one-line legacy.
10. Any plans on editing or writing another book? If so, about what?
If Palin doesn’t announce soon, I may have to get started on, “The Quotable Bachmann.”